Expert Advice for Medium and Midsize Businesses

High-Growth Companies Can Build the Finance Function of the Future

Steve Cox

Over the last few years, the vision and role of finance has expanded. Today, it’s not enough even to be the co-pilot. Finance professionals must also be the change agent of the organization—innovating today, predicting tomorrow, and influencing the future. Being a “numbers-keeper” is no longer enough.

The single-most important question finance leaders within small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) need to be asking is, “What will tomorrow bring, and how can we prepare for it?”

Part of our mission here at Oracle is to provide the solutions your high-growth company needs to get the data to the right people to answer that question. Here is an example.

Imagine you’re a CFO of a fast-growing company on a morning run, listening to your favorite podcast on your phone. Suddenly, you receive an urgent alert: a last-minute competing bid could short-circuit an acquisition your company wants to close on today. You stop in the middle of your run; this could derail everything. The acquisition is the cornerstone of your company’s growth strategy. A million questions run through your mind: Can we increase our bid? By how much? If we do, will the deal still make sense?

Machine learning (ML), natural language processing, intelligent automation (and more) should work with your finance systems to give you the answers you need within minutes—so that the all-important deal doesn’t fall apart. To see how, watch this video.

Before you can be this CFO, you need to become a change agent. The technology you’ve relied on to date has served your business well. Yet with new technologies and use cases emerging every day, your current ERP solution cannot keep up.

Build Tomorrow’s ERP Today

Tomorrow’s ERP—built on machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), and intelligent process automation —can automate day-to-day operations today, helping your team guide the business, instead of processing transactions, transferring numbers, and running reports. As companies produce and receive a seemingly endless amount of data from internal and external sources, it’s finance that is in the best positioned to radically improve productivity, as well as connect historical and predictive insights to strategic planning and goals.

A cloud ERP with built-in ML capabilities are critical to reset the finance function. Not only do they remove the labor from labor-intensive tasks, they continuously run them in the background and learn as they do, continually finding new ways to improve efficiency. At the same time, they feed rapid-fire responses to “what-if” questions posed through chatbots, rich-context dashboards, and other tools at your fingertips.

Yesterday’s ERP often requires expensive and lengthy reimplementation to upgrade—meaning that the organization enjoys the benefit of upgraded software only every two to five years (or more). The world is moving much too fast for upgrades to happen every two to five years. Think how many new regulations (federal, state, and local) come online every year.

ERP Cloud eliminates all that with:

When you migrate to Oracle ERP Cloud, it will be the last upgrade you will ever need to do yourself. The cloud supports the latest features, as well as legislative and regulatory requirements in your market. This is true continuous innovation, rolling out new modern best practices and capabilities on a regular basis. With a trusted innovation partner acting as your cloud provider (and technology expert), finance teams can be unleashed to become the strategic contributors by:

  • Driving greater business insights.
  • Meeting regulatory requirements.
  • Automating to support management-by-exception as a standard practice.
  • Using flexible hierarchies, dynamic reporting and scenario analysis/testing.
  • Gaining greater understanding around investments for better cost control.

And of course, in the war for top talent—especially in finance—providing opportunities to help mold the future of an organization (rather than just manage numbers) offers a huge advantage.

Oracle ERP Cloud is the Future of Finance

Technology is driving the next wave of business productivity, and finance leaders have a unique opportunity to lead this change. Traditional, on-premises, cobbled together ERP does not equip the finance team with the capabilities needed for success—today or tomorrow. SMB leaders who embrace the right technology are better equipped to anticipate and predict what comes next—becoming the change agent, and leader, that every business needs to succeed.

Read our ebook to learn how you can build tomorrow's finance, today: 4 Signs It's Time for the ERP Cloud.

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